Mississippi NAACP leaders say they oppose Gov. Haley Barbour's budget cuts and his proposals to consolidate public schools and merge the state's three historically black universities.
State president Derrick Johnson said during a news conference at the Capitol Tuesday that black students are disproportionately hurt when educational institutions are merged.
Representative Willie Perkins of Greenwood is chairman of the Leflore County branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Perkins said that if Barbour is serious about merging universities to save money, the governor should combine the University of Mississippi with Mississippi State University.
Perkins' comment prompted cheers from more than 100 NAACP members in the Capitol rotunda.
Barbour has said Mississippi State should merge with nearby Mississippi University for Women. But the governor said in his proposal that none of the campuses would close.